May 12 SE MI Heritage Tourism Networking Event

For Immediate Release

Heritage trail aimed at attracting tourists by promoting local history, arts, and attractions unfolds at upcoming SE MI tourism networking event

Grosse Ile, May 3, 2011 – Developing a heritage trail that connects and promotes our region’s historic, cultural, scenic and recreational gems and includes nearby attractions such as quaint downtown shopping districts, unique eateries, wineries, orchards, inns, antiques shops, farmers markets, marinas, golf courses, hiking/biking trails, public gardens, fairs, festivals, etc. is the topic of next week’s regional tourism event.

The 2nd Annual Southeast Michigan Heritage Tourism Networking Event: Capitalizing on our Local History, presented by Hometown History Tours, takes place on Thursday, May 12, 2011 from 8 AM to 4:15 PM at the Stone Creek Banquet Center located inside the Flat Rock Community Center.

Featured speakers include:

Scott J. Bentley, supervisor of the River Raisin Battlefield National Park – our nation’s newest national park. Scott, a 19-year veteran of the National Park Service, has worked at several prominent national parks. Prior to joining the River Raisin Battlefield National Park in Monroe, he was the superintendent of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas. Scott will discuss how national parks positively impact the local economies of neighboring communities. 

Melissa Milton-Pung, project coordinator for Washtenaw County Economic Development and Energy, has worked on numerous federal compliance projects and historic property designations throughout the Midwest. Melissa has overseen the creation of several heritage trails in Washtenaw County including the Historic Barns and Esek Pray Trails.  She’ll reveal how communities can collaborate to further develop their own historic sites.

What southeast Michigan town or city hasn’t been impacted by the automobile?

Nancy Darga, interim director of the Motor Cities National Heritage Area, will acquaint attendees with the many automotive attractions within our region and demonstrate how linking our automotive history can reveal an even bigger story.

While negative perceptions of Detroit prevail, one speaker has been showcasing the brighter side of the city for the past four years – on two wheels no less!

 Kelli B. Kavanaugh, co-owner of Wheelhouse Detroit, a Detroit-based bike rental shop, will discuss how she and her business partner have developed a thriving tour business despite the barrage of negativity Detroit faces.

Yolanda Uddin, CEO of Historic First Congregation Church in Detroit, brings our region’s Underground Railroad story alive with the Flight to Freedom Experience, an experiential journey that highlights the dangers freedom seekers faced as they made their way to Detroit and across the river to Canada.

Ed Gerten of Pentamere Winery in Tecumseh will discuss the growth of Michigan wines and the explosion of culinary/wine tours.

Mary Zucchero, of the Ypsilanti Area Visitors and Convention Bureau, and additional panelists will provide a visitor profile and tips on how to attract these visitors and encourage them to stay longer.

Karin Risko, Hometown History Tours director and networking event coordinator concludes the program with a preview of the Southeast Michigan Heritage Corridor in Connecting the Dots.  

“A lot of history has transpired here, and we have a lot of things to see and do,” says Karin. “It’s time we take inventory and collectively market these attractions so that tourists will be enticed to visit our area.”

 “Heritage tourism not only can boost the local economy by bringing tourist dollars here, it can also improve the quality of life for our residents and encourage others to not only play here, but live and work as well.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the exciting conversation to rediscover and transform our region. Registration for the 2nd annual Southeast Michigan Heritage Tourism Networking Event: Capitalizing on our Local History is $45. Advance registration is recommended.

For further details or to register, visit

Established in 2009 by founder Karin Risko, Hometown History Tours promotes the rich history of southeast Michigan by offering narrated tours, guidebooks and hosting heritage tourism networking events.


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